Cultural Diversity & Equity

July 2021 Newsletter

In This Issue

  1. Department Updates
  2. 4th of July
  3. French-American Heritage Month
  4. ADA 31st Anniversary
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. Religious Holidays
Department Updates

Happy Summer!

For July we want to give a big shout-out to ALL of our students, teachers, staff, and families, especially our district year-round staff, we really appreciate you! This has been a challenging year that has caused us to rethink what school looked like.

Although there was uncertainty and often anxiety, you all showed up, did the work, and showed true resilience through adversity. The strength of our community and the innovation seen throughout this year has been inspiring.

We couldn't be more proud of our district, and we urge you to use this summer to relax, reset, and celebrate your accomplishments and your strength. You've earned it!

We look forward to seeing you all again for the 2021-22 school year! #ICCSDTogether

*Note to parents, if you need information about our Summer Meal Program, click the link below:

Summer Meal Program

*If you know someone who you'd like to recommend for a Student or Staff shout out in our August issue, send us an email! (see department contact information at the end of this issue)

Happy 4th of July
America the Beautiful. Ray Charles. (1972)

This month many in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July, or Independence Day! This is a federal holiday in the U.S that celebrates the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On this day, Americans participate in parades, go to festivals, watch fireworks, and eat an unreasonable amount of hotdogs (or vegan dogs!). It is also a day to reflect on our history, our culture, and our values.


The Declaration of Independence was written by the Continental Congress, back when there were only 13 American colonies as representatives. It declared that the colonies were no longer subject to Britain, and King George III. It stated that they were now united, free, and independent states.

The Declaration was actually voted on by Congress on July 2nd, but it wasn't officially declared until July 4th!

Who signed?

The writing of the Declaration was actually a team effort. Thomas Jefferson initially wrote the declaration, and then later Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams worked to make changes to the document. They finished the final draft on July 4th, 1776, and the signing was held on August 2, 1776.

Delegates from all 13 original colonies signed the document, and no matter how large their signature (John Hancock), they showed their united support for independence.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence are as follows:

  • Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
  • Pennsylvania: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, Benjamin Rush, George Ross, James Smith, James Wilson, George Taylor
  • Massachusetts: John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
  • New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
  • Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
  • New York: Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, William Floyd
  • Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
  • Virginia: Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, Thomas Nelson, Jr.
  • North Carolina: William Hopper, John Penn, Joseph Hewes
  • South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Thomas Heyward, Jr.
  • New Jersey: Abraham Clark, John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon
  • Connecticut: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
  • Maryland: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, William Paca
How well do you know the Declaration of Independence?

Take this quiz to see how much you ACTUALLY know about the Declaration of Independence!

To learn more about the 4th of July, check out the websites below!

French-American Heritage Month
July is French-American Heritage Month, also called Franco-American Heritage Month! During this month we celebrate the contributions and culture of Americans who were born in France or have French ancestry. We will take this month to lift up our French-American students, staff, families, and community members.

Franco-American Day began in Connecticut but has since spread to many parts of the country.

Today there are about 11.8 million Franco Americans in the U.S, and 1.6 million who speak French at home.

In Iowa, an important settlement was colonized in part by French pioneers and French Canadians. Can you guess what it was?

A small settlement called Des Moines!

Statue of Liberty

We can't talk about the 4th of July, and French-American Heritage Month without mentioning Lady Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty was actually a gift from France to celebrate the alliance of France and the U.S during the American Revolution. She stands 151 ft. from the base to the torch! With the pedestal and foundation included, the full height is 305 ft.

But this year France has decided to give us ANOTHER gift! 135 years after the U.S was given the original statue, we will get a second, smaller Statue of Liberty, nicknamed "little sister". She's 1/16th the size, but she still holds a lot of meaning for our continued alliance.

If you'd like to learn more about the United States' history with France, watch the video below!

A story of French - American Friendship

To learn more about French-American Heritage check out the sites below!

ADA 31 1990-2021 Americans with Disabilities Act July 26, 2021
July 26th, 2021 marks the 31st Anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990 and is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This law encompasses jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

To see an overview of the Americans With Disabilities Act, click here.

The ADA was first introduced in the 100th Congress and was signed into law on July 26th, 1991 by President George H. W. Bush. The bill eventually went through changes, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 was enacted on September 25th, 2008. These amendments broader the scope of the ADA, and widened protection to include individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy.

We want to celebrate this historic event, and to look back at all the positive changes this legislation has made for Americans with Disabilities.

Check out the resources below to learn more about the ADA.

Click here to check out available ADA trainings

The ADA National Network offers a variety of training opportunities to increase your knowledge of the ADA. Training provided on all ADA topics and on all levels, from basic to advanced. Trainings are available in person, webcast, and online.

Upcoming Events

The French Revolution- Bastille Day special!

Wednesday, July 14th, 1pm to Friday, Aug. 6th, 2:30pm

This is an online event.

The French Revolution- Bastille Day special!

1789 sounded the death knell for the Old Regime. Key events played out in Paris and this tour brings a fascinating period to life.

About this Event

One of the most dramatic episodes in the history of France and the traces are still visible on the streets of Paris if you know where to look. We will track down the haunts where major actors of the Revolutionary period lived, died or simply hung out. The star cast includes the likes of Danton, Robespierre, Louis XVI and Marie- Antoinette and even a young Napoléon Bonaparte.

To register for this event, click here.

Bastille Day - Quiz and conversation

Friday, July 16th, 12:30-1:30pm

This is an online event.

Bastille Day - Quiz and conversation

Bastille Day is the National Day of France. But what do you really know about France's history and politics ? Come join us to a fun quiz!

Bastille Day - Quiz and Conversation
Bastille Day is the National Day of France. It's celebrated on July 14th and marks the birth of the French Republic. But what do you really know about France's history and politics ? Come join us to a fun quiz event to find out ! The winner will receive a gift basket.
After the quiz, stay with us to talk about France and the National Day !
Free event - Friday July 16th - 10h30-11h30am PDT

To register for this event, click here.

ADA Anniversary Update

Tuesday, July 20th, 2-3:30pm

This is an online event.


Mark the 31st Anniversary of the ADA by joining this session as we hear from representatives of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) provide an update on their litigation, technical assistance, and enforcement efforts. Participants will have an opportunity to pose questions to the presenters regarding issues in their own workplace or community.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours

  • ACTCP - 1.5
  • Certificate of Attendance - 1.5


  • Amanda Maisels, Deputy Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Sharon Rennert, Senior Attorney Advisor, ADA/Gina Division Office of Legal Counsel

To register for this event, click here.

New approaches to web accessibility requirements under WCAG3

Tuesday, July 27th, 1-2:30pm

This is an online event.


The Section 508 Standards apply the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to web content and other electronic content. Issued by the W3C, WCAG 2.0 is a globally recognized, technology-neutral standard. This session will feature new and differing approaches to web accessibility requirements proposed for the next generation of these guidelines, the draft WCAG 3.0, (or WCAG3).

Jeanne Spellman, lead editor and chair of the taskforce developing WCAG3, will review the background of the WCAG3 development process and discuss the team’s approach to accessibility standards. Jeanne will be joined in conversation by Bruce Bailey, IT Specialist at the Access Board, and active member with the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) of the W3C.

They will discuss various questions, including: What is the purpose of an accessibility standard? Is it sufficient for standards addressing digital accessibility to provide a list of technical requirements, or is more required? What are effective approaches to use when developing an accessibility standard so that it can be consistently interpreted and applied?

The conversation will include frank discussion about the concerns and difficulties various stake holders have with current web accessibility standards. Section 508 (and EN 301 549) applied the WCAG 2.0 web standards to other digital content, which has implications for the development of WCAG3. Join Jeanne and Bruce as they review some of the opportunities for improving upon the current approach used by WCAG 2.0 (and 2.1, and 2.2) – including Success Criteria and a binary true/false analysis of accessibility.

There will also be discussion of the current WCAG3 draft under development, including a proposed approach to attributing different weights or values to accessibility provisions, so that digital content may be evaluated using a rating system which is more transparent, and results in more usability to address the needs of users with disabilities.

The presenters will address pre-submitted questions during the main presentation, and live questions as time permits. They are particularly interested in participant feedback on the WCAG3 approach and whether it addresses improvements desired by federal agencies.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

CertificateCredit hours

  • Certificate of Attendance - 1.5


  • Bruce Bailey, Accessibility Specialist/Information Technology Specialist, US Access Board
  • Jeanne Spellman, Founder and Developer, Spellman Consulting, LLC

To register for this event, click here.

Monday, Aug. 2nd, 9am to Thursday, Aug. 5th, 5:30pm

This is an online event.

2021 ADA Symposium Overview

The 2021 National ADA Symposium will have a different format than previous conferences due to the impact of COVID-19. This year, the National ADA Symposium will consist of two separate events: an on-site conference and a virtual conference. Both events will offer the same exceptional session content and presenters for which the National ADA Symposium is known.

Detailed information for each conference, including session schedule, session descriptions, and presenter biographies, are provided in the online registration.

Virtual Event: August 2-5

The virtual conference will be held as an alternative to the on-site conference.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit a virtual exhibit hall and can even make individual appointments with vendors.

Attendees will have access to all session materials and presentation slides.

Real-Time Captioning will be provided for all Zoom webinar sessions.

Registration Fees:

  • Full conference rate: $500
  • Daily rates will be available and start at $150 per day

Exhibitor Registration Fee: $1,000 for a Virtual Exhibit Space. We will utilize Cvent’s Virtual Attendee Hub (VAH) which allows attendees to visit your virtual booth space and set up appointments directly with you for product/service questions and consultation.

Registration Deadline: July 19th

To register for this event, click here.

In Case you missed it

Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival

Saturday, July 3rd, 9pm to Sunday, July 4th, 11pm

Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

Cedar Rapids, IA

While the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival is a month full of events, the bulk of activities is scheduled for this weekend to coincide with Independence Day.

First among these is the Root Beer Festival at 1 p.m. Saturday at the History Center, 800 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. This $5 family-friendly event will also showcase the touring exhibition "Spirited," which showcases stories of America's Prohibition Era.

Saturday will conclude with a fireworks show starting at 7 p.m. in downtown Cedar Rapids. Fireworks will be lit from the 1st Avenue Bridge.

A schedule for events this weekend is as follows:

  • Root Beer Festival, 1-4 p.m., July 3, The History Center, 800 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
  • Virtual Music at the Museum, 7 p.m., July 3,
  • Five Seasons Ski Team, 7-8 p.m., July 3, Ellis Park, 1979 Ellis Blvd NW, Cedar Rapids
  • Drive-Thru Pancake Breakfast, 8 a.m.-noon, July 4, ImOn Ice Arena, 1100 Rockford Rd SW, Cedar Rapids
  • Freedom Festival Car Show, 8 a.m.-noon, July 4, Kernels Parking Lot, 950 Rockford Rd SW, Cedar Rapids
  • CR Municipal Band 'Music By Twilight,' 6:30-8:30 p.m., July 4, Guthridge Park, 704 Emmons St., Hiawatha
  • Celebration of Freedom - Fireworks, 7-10:30 p.m., July 4, Downtown Cedar Rapids
  • Five Season Ski Team, 7-8 p.m., July 4, Ellis Park, 1979 Ellis Blvd NW, Cedar Rapids

To learn more about the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, click here.

Coralville 4thFest

Sunday, July 4th, 6:30pm

1513 7th Street

Coralville, IA

Concerts, fireworks and more are back starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday in S.T. Morrison Park, 1513 7th St., with free music and food grilled by the Coralville Police and Fire departments. Free family activities will also be offered through the evening, including from the Iowa Children's Museum, Coralville Recreation Center and the Coralville Public Library.

Commemorative Observances

Commemorative Observances

This year we will acknowledge the various diverse cultures that are celebrated throughout the year. We understand that our calendar may not be all-inclusive, so if you are aware of any cultural holidays or months of observance that we should know about, feel free to reach out and let us know.

African American History Month (February)
National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.

Women's History Month (March)
Women’s History Month honors and celebrates the struggles and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States.

Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions which Irish-Americans have made to the United States.

Jewish American Heritage Month (May)
Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month (May)

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month (June)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and honors five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their Independence days in September.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October)
National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the accomplishments in the workplace of persons with disabilities and reaffirms the commitment to ensuring equal employment opportunities to all citizens.

American Indian Heritage Month (November)
National American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.

By Month

Happy Holidays!

We'd love to give a big shout-out to all the holidays happening in July! If you celebrate any of these, we hope that you have an amazing day for yourself and your families!

  • Martyrdom of the Báb - Friday, July 9th
  • Puri Rath Yatra - Monday, July 12th
  • Kalimát - Monday - July 12th
  • The Hajj - Saturday - Thursday, July 17-22
  • Tisha B' Av - Friday, July 18th
  • Eid al-Adha - Monday - Tuesday, July 19-20
  • Asala - Dharma Day - Saturday, July 24th
  • Guru Purnima - Saturday, July 24th
  • St. James the Great Day - Sunday, July 25th
  • Kamál - Friday, July 30th
  • Green Corn Festival - Late June/Early July

Who is in the Equity Department?

About Us

Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Eric Howard, Director of Equity & Employee Relations